The view from France
about the possibility of President Bush actually engaging in a military strike
against Iraq is that he would have to be �crazy� to do so; and that he is
probably only threatening Iran.
I respond to French
friends by saying that President Bush is probably going to attack Iran and
that, yes, he is crazy. By that I mean that he is psychologically disturbed;
with characteristics of a �messianic� personality, out of touch with reality
and in denial of any harmful consequences of his actions. I don�t say that
flippantly, but seriously, as someone with professional training in psychology.
He is the most dangerous president that our country has ever had.
French people have a more charitable view of Bush�s character, seeing him
as a cynical, calculating liar, and stupid, but quite rational. But,
the French are generally skeptical of any altruistic claims from politicians,
especially any politician claiming to be religious. They can recall from their
history lessons in school that Henry IV, a Protestant who defeated the
Catholics in the religious civil war, converted to Catholicism to become
recognized as the legitimate king. They can recall how Napoleon Bonaparte, an
atheist, had himself crowned by the Pope as emperor of France. I haven�t yet
met a French person who believes that Bush is sincere in his strange,
fundamentalist religious beliefs.
Years ago, just
before the American invasion of Iraq, I mentioned to a salesperson in my
hometown, that President Bush is lying about the causes for war with Saddam
Hussein. I will always remember the sadly naive response from this kindly
woman. She said that �Bush wouldn�t lie, because he is a Christian.�
Perhaps, Americans need to be much more informed about world events, and a
bit more skeptical of any politician who wraps himself, or
herself, in an American flag and under a Christian cross.
The signs are there
of a planned attack on Iran. The information is available in the alternative
press and on Internet websites. Several huge aircraft carrier attack fleets
were sent to the Persian Gulf many weeks ago. Special new anti-missile rockets
have been sent to the Middle East as a defense against possible Iranian attack
missiles aimed at American ships.
government has been urging the Bush government to bomb the Iranian atomic
energy research sites with special new �bunker-buster� bombs. Foreign
sources report that the Israeli government gave the Bush government a kind of
ultimatum about two months ago; that if the U.S. doesn�t do it, the Israeli Air
Force will do the job, with the lesser technology that they have available. The
case for Israel is that atomic bombs aimed at Israel, by a hostile government
that preaches their extermination, is a life-or-death matter.
Unfortunately for we
Americans, Bush�s �messianic� personality does not allow for subtle and complex
tactics to deal with dangerous circumstances. He sees international relations
in black and white terms of �good� (meaning us) and �evil� (meaning any nation
that challenges us).
The French have
already been vilified by the Bush government, merely by cautioning Bush against
his plan to attack Saddam Hussein�s Iraq and refusing to join in the
misadventure. The French government advised that Iraq would likely descend into
a chaos of ethnic civil war. Too bad Bush didn�t listen.
Jeffrey Victor is a
sociologist who lives in France during the winter months. His wife of 41 years
is a French citizen.